The Edge of Seventeen

Rated 3.0

At this point, it’s almost an unfair advantage for flimsy indie films to stuff Woody Harrelson into a supporting role, kind of the Sundance-Toronto International Film Festival analogue of juicing. In first-time director Kelly Fremon Craig’s generally likeable but thoroughly unremarkable The Edge of Seventeen, Harrelson plays the prickly teacher and anti-mentor to Hailee Steinfeld’s harried high school student Nadine, a social maladroit whose world falls apart when her only friend starts dating her brother. Harrelson steals every single one of his scenes, sometimes by doing little more than furrowing his brow or leaning forward in his chair. It doesn’t amount to much, but it sure is great theater. Beyond that, the film offers an assured lead performance from Steinfeld, some humorous insights into adolescent angst and a curious lack of narrative urgency. The Edge of Seventeen is generally devoid of the trappings of ticking clocks and artificial ultimatums, but it’s also barely a movie. D.B.